Feb. 21—A Medicare physician information website has added data on adherence to five quality measures by some physician groups, federal officials announced on Friday.

The first-time quality measures that were added to Physician Compare, which was created to provide the public with basic clinician information, focused on diabetes and heart disease.

The website’s quality reporting will rate:

  • Physicians’ effectiveness in controlling blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes
  • Physicians’ effectiveness in controlling blood pressure in patients with diabetes
  • Whether physicians prescribed aspirin to patients with diabetes and heart disease
  • Percentage of patients with diabetes who do not use tobacco (as tobacco use can increase the risk of complications for these patients)
  • Whether physicians prescribe medicine to improve the pumping action of the heart to patients who have both heart disease and certain other conditions

The first year quality reporting on Physician Compare includes data from 66 group practices and 141 accountable care organizations. The data were reported at the group practice and ACO level.

The website displays provider quality performance using a consumer-friendly star rating system. Physicians’ actual percentage score also is listed adjacent to the star rating.

Information previously offered through the website included areas of specialization offered by physicians and group practices, board certification, and affiliation with hospitals and other healthcare professionals.

"Offering a strong set of meaningful quality measures on the site will ultimately help consumers make decisions and it will encourage quality improvement among the clinician community, [which] shares CMS's strong commitment to the best possible patient care,” Patrick Conway MD, chief medical officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), said in a release.

The website, which was authorized by the by the Affordable Care Act and began reporting basic data in 2010, has drawn criticism over accuracy concerns, including listing practices that have multiple offices as having only one location.

CMS agreed last year to give provider groups and ACOs a 30-day preview period before the information is posted.

The agency plans to host a Feb. 24 telephone town hall meeting to discuss the future of the Physician Compare website and what additional quality data to display there.

Publication Date: Friday, February 21, 2014